Aaahh… Winter! It’s that time of the year when the foodie in me stirs up and begins salivating at the array of veggies available at the market-place. The avid non vegetarian me slinks into hibernation, there to stay till the leaves on the trees begin to receive a coat of fresh green paint.
The other day I was almost on the verge of breaking into a jig to see green unripe tomatoes at the marketplace. Brought back a few memories of childhood winters in Ranchi when Maa used to make a mish-mash chutney using the raw green tomatoes that had the tanginess of the tomatoes as well as the spiciness of mustard and spread like a warm coat inside to keep the Ranchi chill at bay.
So I bought half a kilo of the tomatoes and decided to experiment with the same checking out a few recipes on the net. While my aim is to ultimately make what Maa used to make, I decided to first try a recipe that took my fancy on the internet. So here it is, though, I have made my own alterations and changed the measurements to suit my taste buds.
Raw green tomatoes : 4, diced into small pieces.
Ginger : a small piece. I chose one not bigger in size and than top phalanx of my little finger.
Garlic : 3-4 pods, diced into little bits.
Green chilli : I love things spiced up and hence put 3 big ones, slit through the middle.
Onion : 1 small one, chopped fine so that it gets fried properly.
White mustard seeds : 1 teaspoon, barely full
Coriander seeds : I simply love their flavour and so never compromise on the quantity of coriander seeds.
Coriander leaves : a fistful, de-stemmed and kept ready for use at later stage.
Having raised the temperature of white oil ( 2-3 tablespoons of any variety would suffice) to smoking levels, I hurriedly threw the coriander seeds, white mustard and green chillies into the oil. As they crackled and the pungency of the chillies had been slightly neutralized by the hot oil, I added the chopped onions, ginger and garlic and picked up the metal flat spoon, which I have always had a fancy for ever since my childhood because of a very slight resemblance of it to that of the Durga’s trishul, albeit the jointed end.
Running the flat spoon briskly through all those ingredients bubbling in the hot oil, I tried to ensure that they do not stick to the bottom of the pan and get a chance to be fried evenly. When the onion had turned a lustrous shade of white, I added the salt before throwing in all the chopped green tomatoes into the deep bottom pan.
A few vigorous shake to all the ingredients in the pan ensured that the ingredients got mixed up thoroughly and the hot oil managed to reach all the ingredients in the pan fairly evenly. Within a few minutes, the green colour of the tomato had begun to wane and the juices from the tomato had begun to make its presence felt. It was time to add some water, cover the pan and let everything cook in the steam.
While the ingredients were subjected to the sauna in the pan, I plugged in the mixer and threw the fistful of coriander leaves into the mixer jar. Along with that I added a liberal dosage of liquid jaggery into the mixer jar. Jaggery is supposed to be healthier than sugar and so doesn’t make the heart heavy with guilt as you tuck into the food. Thereafter the cooked Mish mash goes into the mixer and we are ready for the final round.
A minute or two of pounding and stirring inside the mixer produced a chutney that was, quite eatable!
The chutney can be eaten as a side accompaniment with cutlets and fries but I have found it to go wonderfully well as a sauce for pasta! The quintessential Bengali in me, however, found the best pairing – as an accompaniment to hot koraishutir kochuri!